Are you planning to go on a family vacation this Christmas? If yes, then I would suggest, don’t visit any “hotspot” like London, Paris or New York. Instead, it’ll be great if you spend some quality time with your family in a spot that is serene and well-known for its scenic beauty. What? Don’t really aware of any such destination? Worry not! You can always browse the internet or read a couple of travel magazines to find a spot which is away from the chaos of the city, lying on the laps of nature. However, if you don’t have much time to browse the internet or flip through the pages of a travel magazine, then there’s one spot which I can suggest you and that is Yunnan, one of the most popular provinces of China.
Yunnan Province of China is not just popular for its scenic beauty and tranquillity, but also for being a home to several endemic birds. That is why, this is said to be one of the best destinations for China birding tour. Yes, you read that right! Most of the people think that this province is just well-known for its Rice Terrace; but believe me, it’s an amazing spot for birding as well. So yes, you can carry your SLR or DSLR and go out with a gang of avid birders to capture snaps of a few amazing endemic birds.
Some of the spots in Yunnan which are pretty popular for birding tour are as follows:
- Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden – Established in 1958, this nature reserve is situated in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and covers around about 241776 hectares. And you know what? This reserve was listed in “Man and Biosphere Reserve Network” by UNESCO in the year 1993. This place is nothing but a well-grown monsoon or tropical rainforest in valleys and hills. And, you’ll be amazed to know that this reserve contains one-sixth of the total plant species and one-fourth of the total animal species in China.
And as far as the birds are concerned, there are 427 bird species and subspecies in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and 251 in Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden.
- Gaoligong Nature Reserve– Now this is another nature reserve that was included in the list of “Man and Biosphere Reserve Network” by UNESCO in 2000, along with Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve. This reserve covers an area of around 405500 hectares and aims to protect the mountain altitudinal belt spectra in southernmost China and also, its biodiversity. Till date, 525 bird species have been recorded in this reserve, which belongs to 58 families and 4 subfamilies under 19 orders.
Important Fact: Gaoligong Nature Reserve is famous for two varieties of birds – one is the Pheasants and the other one, Timaliini. Overall, there are around 21 species of Pheasant in this reserve out of which 15 are under the national key protection.
- Dashanbao Nature Reserve- Last, but certainly not the least, there’s Dashanbao Reserve, which is another very popular spot for birding in the west of Zhaotong County. And yes, let me tell you that it is the largest wintering habitat for one particular bird species and that is the Black-necked Crane. This reserve covers a total of 19200 hectares and was included in the ‘List of Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance’ in the year 2004.
Important Fact: According to the statistics of the year 2009, the population of wintering Black-necked Crane in Dashanbao Nature Reserve has reached up to 1199. Yes, you read that right! Isn’t it amazing?
So, these were a few places within Yunnan that are ideal for birding. But yes, there’s one advice – don’t visit these places alone. Make sure you book a birding tour package online so that you can get proper guidance throughout the tour. To know more about Yunnan birding tours, wait for my next article.